Travel Award Winner Proves it's Never Too Late to Start Again
After 28 years working for her hometown hospital — and on the brink of retirement — cath lab/interventional radiology technologist Cynthia Young decided to restart her life. She became a traveler and has been helping patients across the country for the past 16 years.
Recently, she received Club Staffing's Traveler of the Month award.
"Cynthia has the best attitude," said Club Staffing recruiter Annetra Walker-Shook, who has helped guide Cynthia's traveling career for the past three years. "She handles everything in stride and begins each correspondence to me or whomever at AMN thanking us for all we do, even when she is seeking help. It's no mystery that she is consistently requested back by her managers."
Today, Cynthia says her life and career are wonderful — but she admits getting here was difficult.
"Growing up as a black child in South Carolina, I believed no matter how good I was, I could not make it in the rest of the country," she said. "That was my mentality. Even in my early 30s, I was dreaming of having friends all over the country and working in different hospitals."
Then, a life-changing event occurred as her full-time career was winding down: She got divorced.
"To help me through the divorce, I went to a support group called Al-Anon," she said. "It taught me to look at myself to see what part I played in the alcoholic environment and the demise of my marriage. I had to look at what I had done, but I also found what made things work. While doing that, being the good Southern girl, I felt I had missed out on life's adventure. Once I got comfortable with ending that relationship and with being divorced, I started to focus on me."
Soon after she became comfortable with her new beginning, Cynthia met a hospital colleague who exposed her to the exciting world of traveling. At first, Cynthia hesitated – she was concerned about entering an environment where her coworkers' average age was the same as Cynthia's children. But then, she remembered sound advice that her daughter and son gave her years ago:
"They said, 'Mom, if you treat your coworkers like adults and not like your children, then when you make mistakes, which you will, they will help you. And then they'll be open to you helping them. Yes, they are faster than you are, but they will help you if you see them as your peers.' That has been fantastic advice."
Traveling with a smile
Cynthia has been traveling with Club Staffing for the last eight years and calls her experience "phenomenal." "I am not much of a person to argue back and forth," Cynthia said.
"I like the way the piece of my pie is divided. It did not take Club Staffing long to realize that 'well-lived' was just as important to me as how much money I made. As a result of that, they put me in areas that I was quite comfortable in. When there were a few times when I decided I would do my own housing, they said, 'sure.' That's what I love most about them is that they adapt to whatever, not only your personality but what your needs are."
Cynthia said that when she first started traveling, she would choose her assignments based on where her family and friends would like to visit her. Today, she says God has been charting her course since her first assignment in Modesto, California.
Currently, Cynthia is back in California, working at a small but prestigious hospital on the Central Coast.
As a lifelong learner, she is proud to say that Club Staffing has placed her in some of the country's most prestigious hospitals, including Stanford Hospital, Ochsner Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins.
Life during COVID-19
Where some travelers are experiencing busier schedules due to COVID-19, Cynthia said her area slowed down because of the moratorium on elective procedures.
Going from 45 hours per week to five, Cynthia volunteered for a float pool in which practitioners work in different departments. She held many duties, including helping in the supply room, checking arriving coworkers temperatures, and watching emergency room rhythm monitors.
As the COVID-19 experience begins to wane for Cynthia, she knows new travelers will still have to deal with a new and precarious situation.
"Remember that everybody is needed for everything that must be done to make this world go around," Cynthia said.
"Every position is needed, and we're all a part of a team. When you become a traveler, you become a person who becomes flexible and able to work with all kinds of circumstances. Not only does this make you a better person, but it also makes you more skilled at your modality."